The day after Thanksgiving, retail stores host huge sales to draw in customers. This one time of year during the Holiday season, stores have potentially their biggest sales of the year to draw in crowds. For anyone that participates, you might think that the crowd is crazy, that they’re out of control. But guess what? This crowd is you and I, and perhaps we need to step back and look at what we are becoming.
Shove Thy Neighbor
We are willing to push, shove, and pepper spray our neighbors for a good deal. Now think about this for a second: What does it mean to be a competitive shopper? Does it mean that we have license to shove people out of our way to get at a sale item? The way that we act by turning shopping into a competition is not flattering. We allow it to make us into something we are not. If a sales clerk told you that you could have 50% off a video game console or big screen television if you shove your spouse down, I would hope most of us would say no. Yet Black Friday has us treating others this way, and maybe we justify it because the other shoppers are strangers, and this frees us to do things we would not normally do.
Maybe our current economy is making us this way. Maybe enough of us are going without toys as though they were necessities that it creates desperation when the price is low enough that we feel that we aren’t being gouged. But, it is a reality that there is nothing on sale on Black Friday that you can’t live without, and justifying your actions because the acquisition of such gifts are making someone happy on Christmas is a bit hypocritical. Perhaps teaching someone to appreciate what is given instead of teaching what you are willing to do to get something that the child wants might be more worth our time during this season.
To Buy or Not to Buy
The stores are creating the chaos. I realize that they have to make a profit, that’s the entire point of a business. But they are the ones creating the competitive nature. They’ve created the environment. They have done what it takes to create the mob, and we respond, doing anything for the sale. We are being played like amateur poker players, getting taken, responding how they want us to. What it takes is awareness to what’s happening and not getting sucked in. They may not be doing this intentionally, but regardless of intentions, the end result is the same.
One way that we can respond is by supporting smaller, local stores that aren’t part of chains. That way, you are still keeping your money local. If you don’t necessarily care whether or not you support local businesses, buy online. But do it as a form of protest, not to give in to the slave consumerism mentality. It also doesn’t hurt to wait a day or two. Sure, you miss the biggest sales, but they’re still advertising sales throughout the weekend following Black Friday, and there will be plenty more sales through even until after Christmas.
We Are a Part of the Mob
It’s easy to judge others for their actions, but we need to step back. If you choose to shop the midnight openings, or sales that only last for three hours, you’re feeding the beast. Each person that participates in the Black Friday shopping is contributing to the crowds. Show the stores that they don’t need to have a three hour sale once a year, but approach marketing in a safer manner that doesn’t leave us feeling like less a person during a time of year when we should be focusing on taking care of one another, getting together with loved ones, and demonstrating a bit more generosity.